Steelers Scrounge in Couch Cushions, Sign Adam Podlesh, Punter

The Pittsburgh Steelers, with all of 300 thousand (and a little change found in the couch cushions in Dan Rooney’s office) in salary cap space made yet another free agent signing.

  • They did so by coming to terms with former Chicago Bears punter Adam Podlesh

Podlesh brings a mixed pedigree as a punter to Pittsburgh. Last year he gross punting average was 40.6 yards which was enough to net him 33rd position in the league – not exactly a distinction of honor in a league with 32 teams.

Yet, as Dale Lolley indicates, he did pin opponents inside the 20 yard line 27 times, which is something that Mat McBriar and Zoltan Mesko together only accomplished 16 times last year.

Podlesh’s best year in the NFL came in 2011, when he sent the Chicago Bears single season record for punting. Ironically, Podlesh was drafted 11 spots ahead of Daniel Sepulveda, whom the Steelers picked in the 4th round of the 2007 NFL Draft.

Nor is this the only (comic book like?) cross over – Drew Butler will replace Podlesh in Chicago.

  • In addition to Podlesh, the Steelers also have Brad Wing under contract. 

Wing spent the summer of 2013 in training camp with the Philadelphia Eagles but was cut before camp. In addition to fighting Podlesh, Wing is also fighting is reputation – having been charged with simple battery in 2011, and thrown out of LSU for failed drug tests and arguing with coaches in-game.

When asked about Wing’s character issues, Kevin Colbert told Jim Wexell, “Again, players mature as the years go on.”

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Steelers Sign Darrius Heyward-Bey, Brice McCain, Bolstering Depth

The Pittsburgh Steelers started this NFL Free Agency signing period with an unusual burst of activity and they show no signs of letting up. After the Steelers signed LeGarrette Blount, ESPN’s Scott Brown opined that the Steelers were more or less done with free agency and would turn their attention to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Brown was wrong, as the Steelers signed free agent corner Brice McCain and now have come to terms with speedy wide out Darrius Heyward-Bey. That, on top of the Steelers decision to resign Max Starks (or was that just an April Fools joke?) marks the most aggressive free agent signing spree in Steelers history.

Bargain Hunting, Steelers Style

While the moves to bring in talent from the outside are not characteristic of “The Steelers Way” one should not confuse the Steelers for engaging in Daniel Snyder like buying binge.

The rest of the moves provide depth, with the possible exception of Cam Thomas, who is the Steelers only other experienced NFL defensive end aside from Cameron Heyward. Lance Moore and LeGarrette Blount both signed deals trending toward the NFL’s middle class range, albeit on the lower end there.

Arthur Moats, Brice McCain and Darrius Heyward-Bey all signed short term, low or no signing bonus deals that represent very little risk to the Steelers should they not pan out and/or should a Steelers rookie push them for a roster spot during training camp at Latrobe.

Reinforcing Depth, Fostering Competition

The moves also add depth and speed at two critical positions.

It is the Steelers hope an plan that Markus Wheaton emerges to occupy the split end position opposite that of Antoino Brown, with Lance Moore playing the role of number 3 slot receiver. However, Heyward-Bey’s presence will push both men as well as any rookie brought in during the draft.

In the secondary the Steelers appear set with Ike Taylor, William Gay, and Cortez Allen as their top three corners, although the actual pecking order there is not set. Brice, who was rated by Pro Football Focus as the worst cornerback in the NFL, will not likely push any of those men.

Brice McCain provide experience behind that trio, and while he struggled during the last two seasons for the Houston Texans, he could very well benefit from the tutelage of Carnell Lake.

One area where the Steelers still lack depth is defensive line, leading to speculation that the door remains open for Brett Keisel’s return.

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Ben Roethlisberger Gives Up Salary for Steelers to Resign Max Starks

Just when Steelers Nation seemed to be settling into a lull after an uncharacteristically active NFL free agency period, the Pittsburgh Steelers made another shocking move.

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers have resigned former starting offensive tackle Max Starks to bolster the offensive line.

The move apparently came at the behest of Ben Roethlisberger, who was drafted with Starks in 2004. Roethlisberger didn’t stop at pleading the case of is former draft classmate – he put his money where his mouth is.

  • Ben Roethlisberger is giving up enough of his salary to allow the team to sign Starks for the veteran minimum.

The signal caller explained himself this way:

We saw what happened last year when we lacked depth on the offensive line. I said I’d do what it takes to keep us competitive, and now I’m living up to my word. Max was not happy with the way things worked out in San Diego and St. Louis, but he’s been a gym rat since then. He knows that Marcus, Kelvin and Mike are ahead of him in the pecking order, but he wants to give it his all in one final shot.

As Roethlisberger indicates, Starks is coming on board for depth behind Kelvin Beachum, Marcus Gilbert, and Mike Adams.

Although he was not available to the press, Mike Tomlin issued this statement, “We aspire to win a world championship. Max Starks was a starter on a two world championship teams. We embrace players like that who are willing and able to contribute in some form or fashion.”

The Pittsburgh Steelers and Max Starks – Breaking Up is Hard to Do 

It may have come more than 50 years overdue, but perhaps no one has done more to help life imitate art when it comes Neal Sedaka’s ditty “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” and the Pittsburgh Steelers and Max Starks.

Starks ran afoul of Steelers coaches Bruce Arians and/or Larry Zierlin at some point in 2007. The two wanted nothing to do with him, but Kevin Colbert thought otherwise and the Steelers named Max Starks their transition player.

Starks started the year as the NFL’s most expensive back up tackle, but ended up saving the season that ended in glory of Super Bowl XLIII. In 2009 the Steelers franchised him, signed him to a long term deal in 2009, only to cut him in 2011, only to bring him back in later in 2011. The Steelers attempted to go without him in 2012, but were forced to bring him to Latrobe, where he won the starting job.

In 2013 Starks had a shot at returning, but didn’t want backup money and opted to go to San Diego. He got cut after the final preseason game. Many in Steelers Nation expected Starks back at the South Side.

  • It didn’t happen.

Then when Mike Adams struggled mightily in the early season, many expected Starks to return again. The Steelers instead opted to trade for Levi Brown, only to lose Levi before he ever played a down.

Still, there were no Starks signings or sightings, and the story between the two seemed to finally end. Until today.

Kevin Colbert Speaks on Starks

While Mike Tomlin did not speak to the press, Kevin Colbert did has is his custom during the off season.

Speaking with reporters, Colbert explained, “We knew we needed more depth, and when Ben came to us with this idea we a little hesitant, but when we saw that shape Starks was in the stars just sort of lined up.”

When asked if this was really happening, again, Colbert simply smiled and assured, “Max Starks is once again a Pittsburgh Steelers just as sure as today is April the 1st.”

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Steelers Nation Says “Hail and Farewell Ryan Clark” as Clark Signs with Redskins

The theme of “You can come home again” which has been prominent in Steelers free agent moves since 2010 got a new twist today when outgoing starting free safety Ryan Clark signed with the Washington Redskins.

Ryan Clark broke into the league in 2002 as an undrafted rookie free agent but didn’t establish himself as starter until he arrived at the Washington Redskins in 2004.

Clark played well in 2004 and even better in 2005, but Redskins owner Daniel Snyder had his eye on more expensive toys in the form of Adam Archuleta and allow Clark to walk in free agency.

Need a replacement for recently departed free safety Chris Hope following Super Bowl XLKevin Colbert of the Pittsburgh Steelers wasted little time in scooping Clark up to a four year contract.

  • Archuleta only started 7 games for the Redskins
  • Ryan Clark started 109 for Pittsburgh, including Super Bowl XLIII and Super Bowl XLV

During those 109 starts Clark established himself as one of the top, if often underrated, safeties in the league, making the splash plays vs. Baltimore in the 2010 AFC Divisional Playoffs and earning himself a Pro Bowl berth in 2011.

Snyder it would seem has an acute sense of buyer’s remorse, as he has brought Clark back to Washington. Terms of the deal were not discussed, although Clark has said that he will not play for the league minimum and at one point denigrated the numbers initially put forward by the Redskins when he first spoke with them.

Hail and Farewell Ryan Clark

As mentioned in Ryan Clark’s free agent focus profile, his return to Pittsburgh was not expected. Clark’s production in terms of tackles this year remained solid, but he was noticeably slower and no longer “in on every play” has he had visibly been in 2011 and 2012.

Clark seems to have accepted that, and even welcomed Michael Mitchell whom the Steelers signed to replace him.

  • But if the loss is expected, it is nonetheless a sad passing.

When the history of great (post-Chuck Noll era) Steelers safeties is written,  Troy Polamalu, Donnie Shell, Mike Wagner and Carnell Lake will lead the list. But Ryan Clark has shown that he belongs in that conversation too.

For 8 years, Clark led the Steelers in both the locker room and on the field. His hard hitting set the tone for the secondary and the rest of the defense. Clark was one player who literally tucked his head, squared his shoulder and went to work.

During the second half of Mike Tomlin’s rookie season, Steelers Nation agonized as the Steelers defense gave up late leads a number of times.

  • Thoughts of, “This never happened under Bill Cowher” were voiced often times with passion. 

Most of the fans looked to Polamalu’s absence or as an explanation. And while Polamalu’s injuries did limit his availability and effectiveness, the Steelers defense was also without the services Ryan Clark for 10 games.

  • With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, it is now clear that Clark’s absence hurt the Steelers as much Polamalu’s.

And the fact that the Steelers lost their last playoff games at the hands of Tim Tebow in Denver with Clark on the sidelines  is no coincidence either.

  • On behalf of Steelers Nation, Steel Curtain Rising thanks you Ryan Clark. 

Thank you for those 111 games, 2 sacks, 11 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, 6 fumble recoveries, 573 tackles,3 AFC North Titles, 2 AFC Championships, and 1 Super Bowl Championship.

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Door Opening for Brett Kesiel’s Return to Steelers in 2014?

It has been a busy three weeks for the Pittsburgh Steelers and Steelers Nation. LaMarr Woodley has been cut and now replaced Black and Gold with the Silver and Black. Jason Worilds is the Steelers 10 million dollar transition man.

They also brought back Guy Whimper, Greg Warren, and Michael Palmer.

AT this point they remain at or just a smidge below the NFL’s salary cap. And with that the franchise will apparently turn its attention to the coming 2014 NFL Draft.

Thus far the Steelers still have lost more than they’ve gained, but the losses of Jonathan Dwyer, Jerricho Cotchery, and Emmanuel Sanders have been mitigated with what on paper appear to be more cost-effective options.

  • Depth on the defensive line remains thin, however. 

Word is that Cam Thomas was brought into to provide depth at defensive end, indicating that Steve McLendon will stay at nose tackle, and that someone else will start at opposite Cameron Heyward on the defensive line.

But who?

The Steelers will almost certainly draft a defensive lineman. But rookies don’t often start in Dick LeBeau’s system, and when they do, such as in 2013, the results leave a lot to be desired. And there are not many if any starter-capable free agent defensive lineman still waiting for the phone to ring.

The Steelers do have Brian Arnfelt, who had a good preseason, but its doubtful Dick LeBeau and Johnny Mitchell have him penciled in as a starter.

Kesiel has said that he does not want to finish his career outside of Pittsburgh, but feels he has something left in the tank and will if he has to.  Keisel’s phone has been quiet too, if press reports are any indication.

  • Going into free agency the words “not expected back” cropped up along side Kesiel’s name. 

That may be changing. Dale Lolley reported that with Alex Carrington signing with St. Louis, the Steelers would be more open to bringing back Keisel. Whether he’s simply reading the tea leaves or is reporting from what a source has told him is unknown.

Salary could be an issue. Kesiel’s agent has said he will not play for the league minimum. At 36, he doesn’t have but one more NFL payday coming to him, and his desire to make it count financially makes a lot of sense.

  • Still he’s got to be realistic about what the market will be for a lineman with his mileage. 

Given that the Steelers could make him some sort of offer that is above the league minimum yet one that does not hamstring the team’s salary cap flexibility for the balance of 2014. As was said here before, Brett Keisel doesn’t have a lot left in the tank, but that thank isn’t empty if his 2013 performance is any indicator.

Nothing will happen until June 1st, but bringing Keisel is a good idea.

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Steelers Sign LeGarrette Blount, Bloster Depth at Running Back… and Kick Returner?

The Pittsburgh Steelers salary cap space might be sparse, but Mike Tomlin and Kevin Colbert continue to ensure that the depth chart cupboard isn’t bare, as the team signed free agent running back LeGarrette Blount.

According to press reports, Blount signed a 2 year 3.85 million dollar contract, which included a $950,000 signing bonus. While Blount’s primary role will be to back up Le’Veon Bell, his role could expand as suggested by Steelers Digest editor Bob Labrolia:

During his four year NFL career, Blount has only returned kicks for New England, where he played last year.  But as Labrolia suggests, his numbers do prompt an eye brow raise:

  • Blount out performed the Steelers.

Yes, 17 returns is a low number to draw a comparison upon, but it is just shy of 40% of the Steelers total. IF you take out Blount’s long run of 83 yards and remove the Steelers low returns by Cameron Heyward and Michael Palmer, the Steelers average improves to 23 yards per return, but Blount still bests them at 25.7 yards per carry.

No Word on Salary Cap Moves

The Steelers entered the day with just over 1 million dollars remaining under the NFL’s Salary Cap. It was assumed that they would need to make another move, either signing transition player Jason Worilds to a long term deal or restructuring the contract of Lawrence Timmons to gain extra space.

  • Thus far there is no word of any such salary cap move by the Steelers.

Given the terms of Bount’s contract, it is possible that they did not make one. His contract averages out at 1.95 million per year, and the Steelers could have back loaded it to stay under the cap.

Steelers Still Need More Depth at Running Back

LeGarrette Blount entered the NFL in 2010 as an undrafted free agent rookie in Tampa, and rushed for over 1000 yards as a rookie in seven starts. He doubled that start count in 2011, but rushed for only 781 yards, but still posted a decent average of 4.2 yards a carry. Blount rode the bench in 2011, only carrying 41 times for 151 yards. From there he went to New England, where he started 7 games and rushed for 772 yards.

  • In a word, he gives the Steelers a reliable veteran presence in the back field which they do not have.

Still, the Steelers need to add depth. Expect them to pick a running back in the 2014 NFL Draft, but Blount’s presence means that they need not reach to fill the position. Resigning Felix Jones and/or LaRod Stephens-Howling is also a possibility.

Still Reason for Redman’s Return

That of course begs the question of Isaac Redman. The question no one else is asking in Steelers Nation, but one suggested here, namely that the Steelers should give Redman a second chance.

  • That was true before they signed Blount, and remains true.

In fact, any wise persons would take Blount over Redman. But decision to cut LaMarr Woodley will give the Steelers 8 million dollars in salary cap money to spend after June 1st. Approximately 5 million of that will go to the Steelers 2014 Draft Class.

That will leave plenty of money to sign Redman to a veteran minimum contract with no signing bonus, which will be a no risk proposition for the Steelers.

  • This probably won’t happen, but if it does, you read it here first.

But today is Blount’s day. Welcome to Steelers Nation LeGarrette Blount.

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Solution to Steelers Running Back Woes? – Give Isaac Redman a 2nd Chance

LeGarrette Blount will visit Pittsburgh today, a trip delay so he could meet with Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, and Art Rooney II. Meanwhile, Behind the Steel Curtain reports that Maurice Jones-Drew will visit Oakland.

The smart money would say that those franchises awash in cash, such as the Raiders, will have a better shot at the likes of Blount and  Jones-Drew, just as they did with Al Woods and Jerricho Cotchery.

Absent a long-term deal with transition player Jason Worilds or an extension of Ben Roethlisberger, the Steelers face a dilemma.  Put all of their faith in filling needs in the 2014 NFL Draft – a dubious proposition or restructure contracts to gain cap space.

  • But it doesn’t have to be this way. The Steelers have a viable option at running back.

The Steelers can sign a running back who has shown he can make tough yards. One who has 100 yard regular season and post-season games on his resume. This player has no serious injury history. He  already knows their offensive system. Perhaps best yet, the Steelers can sign this running back for the veteran minimum, with little or no signing bonus.

  • Who is this overlooked four leave clover?

None other than Isaac Redman.

  • Yes, Redman, the same player who went from Steelers Nation cult hero to “what have you done for me lately.” 

When last seen, Redman was of course fumbling away the Steelers chance to take the lead vs. the Tennessee Titans. He struggled mightily the rest of the way amassing all of 12 yards in 10 carries. He admitted to lying his way through a concussion test.

Jim Wexell reported “Even at practice last week Redman stumbled in the open field and fell down proving that he’s clearly not the runner he was two years ago.”

Well, no, Jim, that doesn’t prove that Redman wasn’t the runner he was two years ago. The “two year” reference is the fact that Redman could not seize the starting job down the stretch in 2012. No he did not. But that misses the point. Not to beat a dead horse, but….

  • The 2012 Steelers running game went the way of Willie Colon.

When Colon got settled into at guard, the Steelers ran well. When he got hurt, they began to falter. When they lost him the running game flat out faltered.

  • If Redman can be let off the hook for 2012, he was clearly in a funk in 2013.

Fair enough. It is also beyond fair to say that Redman isn’t and won’t be an NFL feature back. But before you write this off as some sort of “Return Redzone Redman Return!” romanticism, take a look below:

issac redman stats rushing receiving stats 2010 2012
Redzone “Reliable Redman” 

Number don’t lie.

And these numbers reveal a quality NFL back up running back, not too dissimilar for those of James Starks, a player the Steelers considered signing (or at least player whose agent convinced the Pittsburgh press crops that the Steelers were interested in.)

  • A superficial analysis of the graphic above might conclude that Redman’s only extended time as a starter revealed his limits as rusher.

That’s partially true, but it’s also true he was hurt at the beginning of that run, and lacked a line after it. It also shows that Redman proved himself as an able pass catcher, something often over looked.

But even if Redman’s stats from 2012 paint more accurate rendering of his rushing ability, consider how they stack up against these numbers:  381 and 127. Those would be the rushing and receiving totals of Jonathan Dwyer and Felix Jones from 2013.

  • That’s the combined total of both players.

Isaac Redman is never going to grow into the type of unheralded, overlooked Steelers running back turned star a la Rocky BleierMerril HogeWillie Parker that Steelers Nation dreamed of in his Redzone Redman days.

But his past performance more than suggests that he’s worthy of a veteran minimum deal. The Steelers owe it to themselves to give Isaac Redman a second chance.

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With an RB Signing in Sight, Steelers Salary Cap Space Getting Tight….

As the NFL’s most active free agent signing period is coming to an end, the Pittsburgh Steelers are finishing things in similar fashion to how they began – short on salary cap space.

Before free agency began only the Dallas Cowboys were more salary cap strapped than the Pittsburgh Steelers. The release of LaMarr Woodley, contract extensions of Troy Polamalu and Heath Miller, and a pay cut for Ike Taylor gave the Steelers some breathing space.

Mike Mitchell stands as Pittsburgh biggest “big money” free agent signing since Kevin Colbert signed Jeff Hartings from Detroit in 2000.

The Steelers have also signed defensive tackle Cam Thomas, wide receiver Lance Moore, and linebacker Arthur Moats.

  • They’d also like to sign a veteran running back, but there’s one hitch – they lack the cap space.

The Steelers have met with free agent running back Maurice Jones-Drew whose outward asking price of 3.5 million per season is more than the Steelers will pay. The Steelers insist he’s still a viable option and if that’s true then Jone-Drew’s sticker price is little more than a ruse.

The Steelers also plan to meet with  LeGarrette Blount, although another team that can give him more carries and more dollars is lurking out there.

Need to Clear Space

Either way the Pittsburgh Steelers will need to clear salary cap space to sign additional players. A contract restructure for Ben Roethlisberger is not in the offing at this point. Nor is a long-term deal with transition player Jason Worilds, imminent.

  • That likely means another contract restructure, with the prime candidate this time being Lawrence Timmons.

Aggressive contract restructures in 2011, 2012, and 2013 are what caused the Steelers salary cap problems in the first place. However, the Steelers have restructured less and less each year, and the cap is set to increase.

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Steelers Signing of Moats Doesn’t Flood, but Does Boost Linebacker Depth

The NFL owners meetings are in full swing, but the Pittsburgh Steelers continue to make moves in free agency. Their latest came at linebacker, as the team came to terms with Buffalo Bills linebacker Arthur Moats.

Moats entered the NFL as a 6th round pick for the Buffalo Bills in 2010. As a rookie he started 4 games and amassed 2.5 sacks. HE didn’t get a start in his sophomore season, but did notch 2.5 more sacks. He didn’t start a game in his third season, but did make 11 starts at weakside linebacker for the Bills in 2013.

  • The Steelers signed him to a one year deal with $795,000 with a $65,000 signing bonus.

That might sound like a low amount of money for a 26 year old linebacker with 19 starts to his name, but Moats stat sheet reveals little in the a of splash plays.

The Steelers are reporting that Moats will back up at outside linebacker, although he is also capable of playing on the inside.

Debo Rumors Dead Plus Depth…?

Moats signing immediately calls into question the rumors that the Steelers were set to resign James Harrison. Some in the media have suggested this move end’s Harrison’s chances of a return.

That may well be the case, as the pro’s and con’s of resigning Harrison are real. But the Steelers were not likely to bring back Harrison before June first anyway.

  • What Moats signing does do is provide an injection of depth at linebacker.

Given his ability to play on the inside as well as the outside, Moats addition arguably makes inside linebacker one of the Steelers deepest position. The Steelers of course have Lawrence Timmons and Vince Williams. There’s also Terence Garvin and, if the injury optimists are right, Sean Spence could be a factor.

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Can Debo Do for Steelers What Jerome Bettis Did?

Ten springs ago Jerome Bettis faced a decision. The Steelers had just signed Duce Staley. Pittsburgh had no problem platooning the two, but could not afford two high-priced veterans in the backfield. Bettis could either retire, play outside of Pittsburgh, or take a pay cut.

  • Bettis opted to take less money, and 1309 yards 22 touchdowns and one Lombardi Trophy later, the Bus parked at Super Bowl XL

Last summer James Harrison faced a similar choice. The Steelers wanted him back, but not at an 8 figure cap it. The Steelers were willing to put their money where their mouth was. The salary cut gave Harrison the chance to earn it all back with incentives.

However, Harrison found the free agent market to be soft for a 35 year old linebacker coming off of multiple surgeries and declining production.

  • At one point, Harrison gave signaled he’d be open to returning to Pittsburgh.

The Steelers however, said thanks but no thanks, we’re moving on. And seemingly that, combined with the decision to draft Jarvis Jones in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft ended the story.

Steelers Harrison, Ending, Alternative B

Once upon a time, thanks to Hollywood, our stories ended in a neat bow-tied package. By happenstance, the world of sports followed this model

  • Franco Harris finished his last year in Seattle, and that was it – no scholarship year or even Three Rivers Stadium retirement press conference
  • Terry Bradshaw had his surgery and skipped town, not even to return for Art Rooney Sr.’s funeral

But times change.

The rise of digital technology has once again made the shape of our stories malleable, just as they were in the age of Homer (the ancient Greek poet that is, not Simpson.)

You no longer have to travel to Japan to see Glen Close commit suicide to end Fatal Attraction – you just press a button on your DVD. Greedo, not Han Solo, fires first. If actors of an orginal franchise get too old or die, well just do a reboot.

  • And something similar is happening in sports, at least with the Steelers. 

Rapid roster turnover and player movement became the norm 1990’s with the Freeman McNeil trial and the rise of free agency. The Steelers 20th and 21st century approaches here could not be more different. When a player either left or ask to leave:

  • Tom Donahoe’s response was “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out”
  • Kevin Colbert’s is, “You can come home again.”

Donahoe turned a cold shoulder to the likes of Jerry Olsavsky and Rod Woodson when they wished to return. Colbert has kept the welcome mat out.

Yet as recently as two years ago, Colbert espoused a different philosophy when it came to players the Steelers had released, when he all but ruled out a return of James Farrior and/or Hines Ward during  the 2012 off season.

Now it seems like James Harrison would like to follow in their foot steps.

The Case for and Against Harrison’s Return

The case against bringing Harrison back would seem to be self evident. This is a defense in need of youth and renewal. While the process has been underway for two years, it is picking up steam with the departures of Ryan Clark and LaMarr Woodley.

  • Why take a step back with a 36 year old linebacker?

The case for bringing Harrison back is more muddled. He played very little in 2013, and while strong against the run he wasn’t much of a force in pass rushing.

  • Nonetheless, an objective, cold-hard numbers case for Harrison can be made.

The James Harrison of 2014 won’t be the James Harrison of 2012 let alone 2010 or 2008. But the James Harrison of 2014 is better than Chris Carter or any other body the Steelers might bring in to back up at outside linebacker. Moreover, this James Harrison will add more value than is revealed on the stat sheet.

Harrison’s workout regime and game preparation are legendary. And in that right, he can set an example for a young defense, much the way that Hines Ward mentored Plaxico Burress and Bettis mentored Ben Roethlisberger.

Assuming that Harrison will take the veteran minimum, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin would be wise to take him up on his offer to return.

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